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Considering setting up as a sole practitioner? Not quite sure how to go about it? You know your clients value your specialist expertise, but they don't want to pay the fees your firm charges? Think you can provide the same (or a better!) service more cheaply? Or you feel only pressure to bill and receive little support from your superiors these days?
If you need a guide through the mine-field of setting up as a sole practitioner or if you want to know about the options available to you, LBS Legal can help.
First of all, we can give you preliminary advice about the different business structures, which may be available to you. For example, the option of setting up as a sole practitioner may not be available if you intend to appoint a salaried partner immediately and or there may be other reasons why it may be preferable to set up as a recognised body instead. (If you decide you want an alternative set-up to being a sole practitioner, LBS Legal can help you with that as well.) We will also discuss with you any pre-conditions, which the SRA will require you to be able to satisfy, before you start incurring expenditure on the formal application process or on any other related commitments.
Once you have decided on your preferred route, LBS Legal will provide full assistance with completion of all necessary forms and declarations, which are required by the SRA before you can deliver regulated services. In particular, we will assist with preparation of a comprehensive Business Plan, which is a pre-requisite in the authorisation process, in order to obtain professional indemnity insurance and SRA authorisation.
We can advise you on obtaining compulsory minimum PII cover (including 'run-off cover' and any supplemental ‘top-up’ cover) from a participating insurer, including assisting you with presentation of your new practice in your proposal in the best possible light, to enable you to have the best opportunity of arranging PII at a reasonable premium.
We will advise you on how to demonstrate to the SRA that you have effective systems and controls in place to comply with your regulatory obligations in accordance with the SRA Handbook, including guidance on systems for client money, complaints handling, records and documents, the COLP/COFA duties on a sole practitioner, equality and diversity, marketing, outsourcing and statutory obligations, such as Data Protection and anti-money laundering.
We can give you guidance on practical matters such as the timing of entering into any commitments required for your business, such as leases of premises, photocopiers, printers and other equipment, so that your financial exposure before authorisation is kept to a minimum.
We will discuss with you any plans you may have to develop or concrete relationships with any third parties and advise you on the links you are permitted to have with other, separate businesses. There could even be advantages to organising some of the services you provide as a separate, unregulated business, but there are regulatory factors to consider.
We can discuss with you the advantages and net additional cost of applying for accreditation with the Law Society’s practice management scheme Lexcel (or any other accreditation scheme depending on your intended practice area, e.g. Wills and Inheritance Scheme, Conveyancing Quality Scheme).
We can provide you with a suite of precedent compliance documentation, including client care letters, terms of business, a risk register, file review templates, compliance plans, COLP and COFA monitoring forms and a business continuity plan.
If you need it, LBS Legal can help you with the compliance aspects of recruitment, appraisals and training (under the new Continuing Competence Scheme replacing the CPD scheme from 1 November this year). We can also provide staff training on a range of compliance and regulatory matters, such as anti-money laundering, to ensure you are as protected as possible against the risk of criminal sanction, reputational damage and regulatory breach in this high risk area.
Contact Ian Braithwaite on 07432 695 289 or email him at email@example.com to discuss a fixed fee and for further advice on LBS Legal's Sole Practitioner Set-up service.
Ian Braithwaite Client Relationship Manager
T: 0113 385 4483
M: 07432 695 289
The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 came into force on 26 June.
Data on equality and diversity is required to be submitted to the SRA by recognised bodies, sole practitioners and licensed bodies/alternative business structures, including consultants (if contracted for over 3 months) but not in-house lawyers, every two years.
As you may be aware, the Government wants to tackle the ‘rampant compensation culture’ to reduce the number and cost of whiplash claims, as well as to modernise the courts system.
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